The Oklahoman’s Warm, Premature Welcome For The Sonics

Posted in Basketball at 1:07 pm by

Darnell Mayberry’s fluffy profile of a recent Maryland native/recentLonghorn toiling in Seattle (“somewhere there’s a blueprint, waiting on Kevin Durant to dissect its details and pursue its path. It leads to stardom.”) provides ample backup for Clay Bennett’s promise the Oklahoma City journalism business community is fully committed to their Sonics.

The New York Post’s Marc Berman describes Isiah Thomas’ recent mood as “morbid” and “morose”.

Before yesterday, Thomas rarely talked about anything, at times his evasive answers barely audible as he stared sullenly at the floor. He didn’t bring his wife to the trial, not wanting to expose her to the circus, and she has apparently sworn off games this season.

Some people will do anything to avoid running into Jerry Ferrera.

Berman’s Post colleague, Peter Vescey, takes note of Kobe Bryant blowing off the Lakers’ final exhibition game against Sacramento, and concludes the Andrew Bynum Diss Machine will be traded by Opening Night.

When a professional athlete – from superstar to superstiff – foregoes a freebie to Las Vegas, red flags go up all across the painted ponderosa.

Home of all that is virtuous and vacuous, not to mention (but I will anyway) the Pacman Jones Hospitality Center and Water Park, Las Vegas, at last survey, is where 93 percent of the NBA rank and file get their mail sent.

While injured teammates Lamar Odom and Maurice Evans sat on L.A.’s bench dressed in business casual, Bryant did not make the arduous hour trip from Los Angeles, excused due to a purported sprained right wrist.

Excuse me, but there are just two ways to judge Kobe’s no-show. Either he was exercising a last-ditch effort to disrespect the team and force a trade, or a deal is so close that management didn’t want to risk him getting hurt.

Hate Crimes Against Boston Fans Continue

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 10:59 am by

This oughta take the shine off Pedroia and Ellsbury going nuts at Coors ;   Mr. Irrelevant’s Chris Mottram with words that should have Denis Leary and Phil Jupitus alike contemplating buying Orioles season tickets giving up on baseball.

I think I™ve made it pretty clear in this space previously how much I hate the Nation of Red Sock. The real Sox fans are unbearable Massholes, and the bandwagon fans ” which most of their fan base is comprised of ” should probably kill themselves now. I™m not sure at what point it became cool to wear a cap with a ˜B™ on it, but I assure you that it is not, in anyway, cool. It makes you look f™ing stupid and your friends have no respect for you.

Ahem, bandwagon fans? Tough talk indeed from someone who actually thinks Jimmy Kimmel is funny, but full credit to Mottram — he gets to the point much faster than Dan Shaughnessy.

“Bill Walton” On The Blazers, Altamont

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down at 10:13 am by

Dear Frank Caliendo — go on, try and top this.

Please do so in private, however.

You Might Say The (Ronnie) Millsaps Never Saw This Coming…

Posted in Gridiron at 10:02 am by

…except that would be insensitive towards the sightless.

Canseco’s “Juiced”, Reconsidered

Posted in Baseball at 12:44 am by

Widely pilloried at the time of publication, Jose Canseco’s “Juiced” receives a very different retrospective critique from Bryan Curtis of the New York Times’ Play Magazine, who considers the rogue half of the Bash Brothers “one of the most intrepid sportswriters of his era.”

Taking locker-room verisimilitude to the extreme, Jose Canseco told of how he sneaked into bathroom stalls and (his word) œinjected his pal and fellow slugger Mark McGwire with steroids. Canseco™s was not a cautionary tale of drug abuse, however. œJuiced was an over-the-top testimonial to the powers of steroids, which Canseco argued could œcure certain diseases, along with making you œstronger and sexier and œmore easily aroused. In this, Canseco appears to be the first memoirist to be influenced by both Wilt Chamberlain and Baba Ram Dass.

The lunkhead had a point. Canseco™s book started a congressional inquiry, and none of the book™s more lurid allegations has been effectively refuted. (Rafael Palmeiro, whom Canseco fingered as a user, later failed a drug test and was suspended.) While œJuiced strayed past the bounds of self-parody, I think Canseco may have unwittingly written one of the most harrowing portraits of the modern athlete. Canseco was seemingly rich beyond his wildest dreams, awash in sex (he alternately flirted with Madonna and Hooters waitresses) and had a head that was big with or without pharmacological enhancement. But when he picked up a pencil, a funny thing happened. He came crashing down to earth. On the page, he was less a buffoonish, larger-than-life figure and more a real human being. And an extraordinarily sad one at that: œJuiced reaches a kind of climax with Canseco sitting in his Florida mansion, cradling a machine gun and contemplating suicide.

Word is that Canseco is at work on a sequel to œJuiced, which he has tentatively titled œVindicated. I wanted to ask Canseco about his literary process, but he said, through his manager, that he would speak with me only if I paid for the privilege. I couldn™t help but imagine Canseco hunched over his laptop, discarding drafts and wondering where his next paycheck was going to come from. As a mere mortal, I found some comfort in this. If you think playing left field is difficult, try being a writer.


Spurs To Jol : UR FIRED

Posted in Football at 10:42 pm by

If Pat Riley can quit via fax, is it really a big deal that Tottenham fired Martin Jol via text message? OK, so they did it during a match, but there’s something to be said for the convenience of mobile telephonopoly.

Juande Ramos (above), most recently of La Liga’s Sevilla, was named Spurs’ new boss earlier today. He’s signed a four year deal, which is pretty optimistic considering Tottenham haven’t kept a manager that long in twenty years.

The week’s award for unusual restraint in the face of provocation goes to Arsensal’s Arsene Wegner, who upon being called out by deposed keeper Jens Lehman, merely told the papers, ” I don’t think I’ll add to the fire. It’s common in Germany, these kind of statements.” Hopefully, Tom Coughlin’s taking notes this week.

Jamal Charles’ 4th Quarter Rushing Clinic

Posted in Gridiron at 9:01 pm by

With all due respect to Colt McCoy’s ability to take a punch (and if he takes a couple more, Mack Brown’s gonna be charged with child abuse), Jamal Charles’ absolutely insane 4th quarter (2 of his 3 TD’s, 216 of his 290 yards rushing on the day) might be the final nail in the coffin for Nebraska coach Bill Callahan. The Cornhuskers’ 28-25 loss to Texas — a game they lead, 17-3 in the second half — was their 4th consecutive defeat, the longest such run of futility in 36 years.

Why it took nearly 45 minutes of play for Brown and Greg Davis to fathom Nebraska a) wasn’t going to stop blitzing and b) entered the day as the nation’s most suspect run defense, I can’t answer. But while Charles isn’t going to total 290 and 3 TD’s most weeks, there’s got to be some relation between getting him going early and often and opening things up for the wildly inconsistent McCoy.

Check Your Head : Xenith’s New Helmet

Posted in Gridiron, Leave No Child Unbeaten, Medical Science, The Marketplace at 6:08 pm by

Former Harvard QB Vin Ferrara — a multi-concussion victim as a player — is the brains behind a new football helmet that one researcher has called “the greatest advance in helmet design in 30 years.” From the New York Times’ Alan Schwartz :

Rather than being lined with rows of traditional foam or urethane, Ferrara™s helmet features 18 black, thermoplastic shock absorbers filled with air that can accept a wide range of forces and still moderate the sudden jarring of the head that causes concussion. Moreover, laboratory tests have shown that the disks can withstand hundreds of impacts without any notable degradation in performance, a longtime drawback of helmets™ traditional foam.

Dr. Gerry Gioia, a pediatric neuropsychologist who directs the concussion program at the Children™s National Medical Center in Washington, said Ferrara™s helmet could œtake helmet protection to a whole new level.

œI think it™s very real, Gioia said. œFoams have only had a certain amount of success in absorbing force. Think of what crumple zones in cars meant to reducing injuries. That™s the idea behind this technology ” this does what it™s supposed to do better than any other.

Ferrara said that his company, Xenith LLC, expected the helmet to be available for the 2008 football season ” either produced by Xenith or perhaps by license to an existing manufacturer. The price will be about $350, more than twice the cost of existing headgear. Ferrara, who after graduating from Harvard in 1996 earned medical and business degrees from Columbia, said he expected marketing to focus less on schools, whose budgets are tight, than parents with concern for their child.

Ferrara said he wanted his new shock-absorber helmet design to be only one of several lines of defense against concussions. Mindful that previous helmet improvements have occasionally led athletes to feel a false sense of security and take more risks, he said part of his rollout plan would be to emphasize to players and coaches proper, head-up tackling technique, so that the helmet sees fewer dangerous hits to begin with ” as well as encouraging athletes to admit when they think they might have a concussion.

œThe educational side of it is just as important, if not more important, as the helmet itself, Ferrara said.

TiVO’s Disappearing NHL Content

Posted in Hockey, Technical Difficulties at 3:30 pm by

Sabres fan John Niedermeyer coughed up $150 for the NHL’s Center Ice package, naturally presuming he’d be free to watch games on his TiVo hard drive recorder at his convenience. Think again.

We recently upgraded our TiVo unit from an old DirecTiVo, to the new Series 3 TiVo HD, which apparently implements unnaturally strict copy protection on premium content. Because the new unit utilizes CableCards, TiVo has different rules for these TiVos as compared to Series 2 units, according to their support page:

Since the Series3 and TiVo HD are DCR devices, in addition to the Macrovision rules for analog content, they must also comply with the content protection policies for Digital Cable content.

What this means is that NHL Center Ice content is copy protected, and will be deleted within hours of the game™s completion. Gone. Irretrievable.

This angers me to no end, as I am a busy person, who is paying a premium price to the NHL, as well as TiVo. The NHL™s popularity has waned so much here in the States, that I can™t for a minute imagine that they are responsible for this policy.

I can’t either. Mostly because there’s at least one claim of the same thing happening to Major League Soccer telecasts —- not because it’s difficult to envision the NHL inconveniencing their customers.

UPDATE : courtesy Off Wing Opinion, the NHL blames TiVo!.

Lough : “No Idea” Why Grady Jackson Was Cut

Posted in Gridiron at 1:43 pm by

“I have no idea what Bobby Petrino is doing. Or Rich McKay,” writes the Macon Telegraph’s Michael A. Lough of the Falcons’ embattled head coach and general manager. You might say the former is putting his own stamp on things. While the latter is probably preparing to offer the former a buyout in January. |

The cutting by the Atlanta Falcons of defensive tackle Grady Jackson (above) on Tuesday was from beyond left field and will increase the debate of whether Petrino is a one-year guy waiting to see what shakes down in the college football coaching bloodletting that we’re two months away from.

Jackson was the team’s top tackler up front, and it’s not like the Atlanta defense was shaking up the world.

Worse, Petrino apparently did it quietly and with no explanation for a full day, letting his team fester. Apparently, Petrino has bought some discount shovels at Home Depot, because he’s digging a hole.

And suddenly what some of us blew off as a surprising bout of whining from Alge Crumpler is much easier to believe.

From this spot, changing quarterbacks made little sense, since Joey Harrington had played well enough for the Falcons to be at .500, and he was one of the few who qualified for that statement.

Grady Jackson qualified for that statement.

The initial thought here is that Petrino was a gamble hire because he moved around so much, and thus hadn’t built anything long-term. Then his decision to go with a pocket-oriented passing game with a non-pocket quarterback was odd.

Still, some of us eventually warmed to the move and predicted, even in the middle of the Vick mess, some positive surprises. One of us actually said that a run at the postseason wouldn’t be so shocking.

More and more, one wonders what’s going on and if we completely missed something.